Catholic Churches moving services online for Easter Sunday
GRANGER, Ind. --- The Catholic Church is taking its Holy Week services online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s a change churches have had to make quickly. At the St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, empty pews are surrounded by caution tape, holy water is taped off, and church staffers are sporting face masks.
“It’s been surreal these past few weeks,” Bishop Kevin Rhoades said, head of the Diocese of Fort Wayne Wayne South Bend “it was so difficult to make the decision to suspend public liturgy but certainly very much necessary.”
Rhoades is just one local area priest making the switch to broadcasting mass via live stream for Holy Week. Preaching to empty pews is something he’s had to get used to and he says one of the biggest differences is being not being able to distribute communion.
“We’ve been doing everything we can especially using the media, and social media, to provide spiritual resources for our people so we can help them pray. I mean this is the holiest time of the year and we’re not able to be gathered together in church.”
The church has had to adapt quickly to record and edit their services to stream both online and broadcast on television. Jeremy Hoy, the Director of Liturgy and Music at the St. Pius X church said they’ve implemented a variety of different changes, including social distancing the choir.
“We’ve done different things like put graphics up on our live feeds, like the music graphics, the responses so that people can interact at home. So that’s been all new to think, what can we do to help people at home?” Hoy said.
Rhoades says preaching to an empty church doesn’t bother him as much as he thought it would but he recognizes some people might be having trouble connecting spiritually from home.
“I realize that there are thousands of people who are watching. So, I feel a connection even though I can’t see them,” Rhoades said. “Those who are feeling kind of estranged because they can’t come to church, I would just say you know, keep praying, read the scriptures, participate in the devotions, use the rosary, use your time well.”
You can stream Easter mass led by Bishop Rhoades on WMYS at noon Sunday. More information on where to watch can be found here.